Review: As Much as I Ever Could, by Brandy Woods Snow

“I hate him for having that power, but I hate myself most for wanting more- more of his time, more of his attention, more of him.”

I’m very grateful for receiving an eARC of this book. This did not affect my review. Brandy Woods Snow earned these 5 stars because of the amazing story she created.

CJ is the main character of As Much As I Ever Could. After she survived the car accident that killed her mother and sister, CJ hasn’t been able to get behind the steering wheel again and drive a car. She has been drowning in guilt and pushing away everybody around her. When her therapist suggested going away for a while, CJ’s father was happy to oblige and send her off to her grandmother in Edisto.

The moment CJ arrives in Edisto, she immediately gets acquainted with Gin, Bo and Jett. Against her expectations, the wall around CJ begins to crumble, especially when she’s around the hot racing champion Jett Ramsey. Jett starts helping CJ to get her driving again and as they grow closer, Jett becomes distracted. But being distracted on the racing circuit is dangerous…

I’ve never been this hooked on a contemporary book without any fantasy elements. The emotional rollercoaster. Damn. This book made me laugh, feel wholesome and even cry like a baby. The characters have so much depth and it’s really hard to not feel for them. They have been through a lot and those events shaped a lot of their traits. That made them real and easy to connect to.

Read this book. You won’t regret it. It only takes a few hours and it’s definitely worth it. I usually prefer fantasy, but the emotional rollercoaster of As Much As I Ever Could was so intense that it made me feel more than a lot of fantasy books.

Next read: Wolf of Choice, by Shay Laurent

Review: Restless Slumber, by K.J. Sutton

TRIGGER WARNING: Restless Slumber contains domestic abuse and sexual violence

Restless Slumber is the second book in the Fortuna Sworn series. This review contains spoilers about Fortuna Sworn, the first book in the series.

Fortuna Sworn left Fortuna with a lot of problems to deal with. She just became queen of the Unseelie Court, Damon still hasn’t forgiven her for what happened with Jassin, Fortuna is unsure of her feelings towards Collith and Ollie, Fortuna is stuck with a werewolf and last but definitely not least, Laurie isn’t who he said he was. If those problems weren’t enough, Fortuna made more enemies in Restless Slumber.

After Fortuna Sworn, it was clear Fortuna would do anything to save her loved ones. It was one of her strengths as a protagonist. However, I believe that in Restless Slumber, she did too much. She lost herself. It reminds me of Feyre in the beginning of A Court of Mist and Fury, but worse. I truly hope that Fortuna will find some happiness in Deadly Dreams, because she’s been through too much.

Collith stole my heart in Restless Slumber. I liked him in Fortuna Sworn, but he swept me away this time. I want to read and know more about Collith and his past. He still has a wall around him, but he’s opening up and that made me really happy while reading the book.

Laurie had my heart after Fortuna Sworn and still hasn’t lost it. He’s still the same witty guy with an answer to everything and I truly have a weakness for that type of characters. Laurie keeps swooping in and saving the day, but I expect he will expect something in return in the following books.

Restless Slumber also introduces some other lovely side characters. And some not so lovely side characters. K.J. Sutton accomplished that I started hating a minor character and that doesn’t happen too often in books. But I guess you’ll have to be patient and read Restless Slumber to find out who that is 😉

When I had only about 70 pages left, I started wondering “So what’s the plot of this book? War with werewolves, Damon’s recovery, or is it mainly about giving the reader background information?”. But man, the last 50 pages, they wrecked me. I am not okay with this. I want the next book but I also don’t want the next book. I know my heart will break from the aftermath of Restless Slumber, so I’ll have to mentally prepare myself before I start reading Deadly Dreams.

Next read: Red Moon, by Sein Ares

Review: Fortuna Sworn, by K.J. Sutton

Fortuna Sworn started with an interesting order of events in the first two chapters. Instead of the common ways action -> world building during action -> more action or world building on a regular day -> action, K.J. Sutton chose for action with little world building -> regular day with more world building -> LOOOOTSS OF ACTION. I liked that. It was refreshing.

I started this book with no expectations because I prefer going in blindly. It was already visible in the first chapter that Fortuna Sworn is a badass as she kicked some goblin’s asses and escaped certain death. After getting a lead on the whereabouts of her brother Damon, who has been missing for two years, Fortuna does everything she can to bring him back. But has she risked too much by doing so?

After a few chapters, I noticed that this book is dark. Really dark. Fortuna Sworn includes slavery, possible Stockholm Syndrome, graphic violence and a seriously toxic relationship. The graphic scenes mainly happen at the begining of the book, so if you really want to read the book but aren’t a fan of graphic scenes I recommend pushing through.

Fortuna Rising actually had some major ACOTAR vibes. So if you’re looking for books similar to ACOTAR and don’t mind a darker twist, DING DING this is your book! K.J. Sutton has created a special world with so many interesting characters (especially Collith and Laurie). I can’t wait to start in the next book: Restless Slumber!

Next read: Pax, by Sara Pennypacker

P.S. Check out this amazing fanart of Fortuna and Collith by Salome Totladze! (morgana0anagrom on Instagram)

Review: Dragon Rising, by M. Lynn

I’m so glad I was able to read an ARC of Dragon Rising! It’s a Mulan inspired story, but with a huge twist, because being a woman pretending to be a man isn’t the only thing that Hua Minglan has to hide.

When reading the note from the author before starting the story, I came across the following sentence:

Also, please forgive the addition of live dragons. Those did not exist in ancient China.

That was it. That was the moment I had high expectations. Not only showed M. Lynn that the had a good sense of humour, but the book WOULD HAVE DRAGONS!!!!

I expect you know what happens in Mulan. In Dragon Rising, Hua and her family are invited for the festival of the dragon by the new emperor of Piao. Everything is going fine during the festival, until the Kou attack and Hua’s sister is killed. Afterwards, Hua wants nothing more than to get revenge for what happened to her sister. So, as you probably know from Mulan, she pretends to be a man and joins the army to wage war against the Kou.

Jian is the commander of the Piao army. After most of his men died in a trap set by the Kou, he started training new recruits. Despite being an honorable man, rumours are going through the camp that he deliberately lead his men into the trap. Because of this, Jian is struggling to keep the confidence of his men, while also dealing with his past.

Dragon Rising is a well-written retelling. All of the characters have a lot of depth and the character growth is amazing. I love the twists M. Lynn gave to the story. I haven’t mentioned them all, so you should read the book for the rest of them!

P.S. If anyone knows other Mulan retellings, please tell me. I need more.

Review: The Hunt, by Frost Kay

I really should stop reading books during my exams, I just keep procrastinating. Even though Frost Kay potentially ruined my grades by writing this book and allowing me to review it, I want to thank her for providing me with an ARC of this book.

The book starts with the history of The Twisted Kingdoms: it states how a world where Elves, Shapeshifters, Giants, Dragons, Humans and Merfolk used to live in peace with each other, but then grew hostile towards each other.

17-year-old Tempest has been training almost all her life to become a Hound: the king’s assassins and warriors. If she passes her final trial, she will become the first female Hound in the history of Heimserya, the land of the Humans.

After making a dangerous bargain with her King, Tempest had to infiltrate the enemy and kill The Jester, their leader. But in The Hunt, Tempest learns that she never knew everything that was going on. She discovers things that make her question everything she stands for. Do Tempest’s loyalties lie in the right place?

I ADORED this book. The Hunt was incredibly hard to put down. I really connected with some of the characters and it’s been a while since I’ve felt that way. The only thing that troubled me a little was the world building. Kay started the book wonderfully with the History of The Twisted Kingdoms, but she hardly explained the world and its inhabitants throughout the book. That made it hard to follow at some points. One example is that the book mentions shifters, but I can’t remember it being explicitly stated that they can shift between an animal form and a human form. It took me a while to figure that out.

Next read: Moonburner, by Claire Luana